MANILA, Philippines – Wesley So, the country’s top chess player, has hardened his position and seeks to be released from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), overriding an earlier request to play in the Norway Chess Olympiad this August and then seek to transfer to the US Chess Federation.
“My request was simply disregarded. I never received a direct answer,” said So. “At this point, it is too late for me to represent the Philippines in the upcoming Olympiad in Tromso, even if the NCFP accepts the offer I made last November. I had made other commitments after the June 1 deadline to submit the Olympiad team roster.”
If the NCFP chooses to “punish me by refusing to consent, I will have no choice but to lose another valuable year. I will wait for a positive response,” So told Chessdom.
So said in the Philippines there is no serious training system and sometimes he has to fly to the Philippines to compete in “events like the Southeast Asian Games, which seriously conflict with my study at Webster University.”
“When I did not compete in the Asian Indoor Games in 2013, and instead played in the World University games (which was a very strong event), in spite of winning the first ever Gold medal for the Philippines, I was denied the official recognition from the NCFP. No player should be treated this way especially when I worked so hard to bring pride to my country,” he added in Chessdom.
Under rules of the International Chess Federation (FIDE), a player can transfer if his federation allows him or if he pays a fee of 50,000 euros (2,962,454 Philippine pesos). If his federation does not allow him to transfer, he will not be able to compete in any FIDE rated tournament for two years.
Susan Polgar, So’s coach at Webster University in St Louis, revealed last Saturday in her blog a letter from So to the NCFP expressing his desire to change federations in order to have a greater chance to improve and compete in top tournaments.
Since being recruited by Polgar, a former women’s world chess champion two years ago, So said he has climbed from 100th to 15th spot in the world. He won the Capablanca Memorial last month in Havana.
So, in his letter posted by Polgar, said he has filed for a green card and begun the needed paperwork to transfer to the US. In that letter, So said he was willing to play for the Philippines in the Norway Olympiad for the last time and then seek release from the NCFP.
NCFP President Prospero Pichay Jr. and executive director Jayson Gonzales are still in Macau where the Philippines is winding up a successful campaign in the Asean age group tournament. There has been no statement coming from them.
NCFP secretary general Abraham Tolentino, who is seeking a post in the International Chess Federation, was quoted by the Philippine Star Tuesday as saying it would be best to allow So to leave.
Sources said the NCFP board will meet after Pichay and Gonzales’ arrive to decide on So’s latest statement. – Rappler.com